Cash Settlement – 03/30/2012. Johnny and Patricia Bates v. Michelin North America, Inc. and Michelin Corporation, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division

On Christmas day 2008, Mr. Bates was paralyzed when a Uniroyal Laredo tire manufactured by Michelin suffered a tread separation and came apart, causing the vehicle to go out of control and roll over. Mr. Bates was driving a GMC Jimmy at the time of the incident. Plaintiffs alleged the tire contained numerous design and manufacturing defects, including the absence of a nylon cap. The case was plagued by Michelin's unrelenting and unrepentant discovery abuse leading to a meticulously detailed and documented 60-page order issued by Judge Totenberg finding that Michelin had "engaged in a pattern of subterfuge and withholding relevant and responsive documents," "acted willfully in violating the Court's discovery orders," and "engaged in a pattern of prejudicial discovery abuse ...throughout the course of this litigation." The Court held these serial abuses warranted the substantive sanction of issue preclusion. The case settled for a confidential amount.